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Current Tape Reviews

SPOTLIGHT 80: Between You And Me
 
Artist Name:
David Moore / RadioMoved
  Title:
SPOTLIGHT 80: Between You And Me
 
Date Posted:
October 2014
 
Genre:
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Mac Pro 2.8 GHz quad-core with Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 and Universal Audio UAD-2 QUAD card running Ableton Live 8 Suite, Toontrack EZdrummer, and effects plug-ins by Ableton (Gate, Limiter, and Vocal Doubler rack) and Universal Audio (Pultec, API 550L, Shadow Hills, Ampex, and 1176 emulations). Guitars: American Standard Strat HSS & Les Paul Standard into a Line6 POD X3. Bass: Fender American Standard Jazz Bass into a Joemkeek TwinQcs (only one channel used). Vocals: Sterling Audio ST69 tube mic with sE Electronics Reflexion Pro filter. Monitors: Event Project Studio 8, Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro headphones.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Between You and Me" is a male vocal rock song done in its entirety by David. ("RadioMoved" is an anagram of his name.)

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: This month's SPOTLIGHT is an outstanding one-man-band recording that manages to dodge a good many of the issues plaguing so many of you loyal "multiple hat" wearers out there. Those of you familiar with RECORDING's Readers' Tapes Column have no doubt heard us pontificate endlessly through the years about the pleasures and pitfalls of OM/WB recording. A good majority of the submissions that we receive are from this type of scenario, and a good number of those suffer symptoms ranging from poor drum programming to mix imbalance to improper use of compression/limiting. That said, every now and again we happily receive a track that manages to avoid these "traps", and SPOTLIGHT is the perfect place break it down for study and inspiration!

Starting from the ground up, David gets big props for his drum programming via Toontrack EZdrummer. David, in his copious notes, has this to say about the drums: "The drums are from EZdrummer and I used a combination of custom-made MIDI files and MIDI files from the Songwriter MIDI Packs 1 and 2. I split the drums into separate tracks for kick, snare (top and bottom both bussed to the same track in the DAW), hi-hat, toms, overhead mics, and room mics. I created a subgroup for the drums and applied mid-side EQ using the built-in Ableton 8-band parametric EQ and an API Vision Channel Strip to the drums subgroup."

While we are unsure as to David's primary instrument (he's pretty darn good at all of them!), he has obviously played or paid awfully close attention to drums/drummers in the past. The tone choices here are superb, ditto the programming. At no point do we get the feeling that the drum part is beyond the realm of human possibility, something that sadly is occurring at an alarming rate on a goodly number of our sole-operator submissions. We love the generous panning applied to the toms, as well as the careful cymbal management.

Equally impressive was the fact that David placed his programmed drums ideally in the mix. Far too often these days folks seem to be taking an apologetic approach, burying their drums, while destroying their mix balance in the process. Unfortunately, this then has a snowball effect on the bass guitar, which by design needs to stay with its rhythmic partner in the track. Fortunately, due to the proper placement of the drums here, David is able to bring us a bass guitar that is punchy, with a nice bit of "growl", and his energetic performance really drives the track.

Other highlights include the lead vocal tone/placement. David has found a sweet match between his voice and the Sterling Audio ST69 microphone, and the lead vocal level in the mix is spot on to our ears. Lastly, while admitting that his "room sounds AWFUL (don't ask!)", David wisely checked his mix on multiple playback systems before calling it complete. As we have said ad infinitum, A/Bing your mixes is the single most cost-effective tool is the recordist's kit bag. It costs nothing but your time, and yet the knowledge gained is priceless. Thank you, David, for implementing one of our most essential suggestions, we do appreciate it!

Suggestions: OK, class, repeat after me: "I WILL study this drum programming, I WILL, I WILL!"

Summary: This is how you bake the cake, kids!

Contact: David Moore / RadioMoved, dcm_guitar@comcast.net, www.reverbnation.com/davidmooremusic
About: Marty Peters

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